So excited to welcome Phyllis here today because she is a new Wild Rose Press author who I haven't had the chance to talk to very much. I love the Wild Rose family and it's important to me to be a part of it. Why? Because of the friendliness, the support and laughter I share with the authors as well as every other fantastic aspect! Okay, let's get started...
1) What is your writing routine?
I work full-time, so having a second career as a writer means a lot of switching gears. If I am working on a novel, I'm up at 3 a.m., writing until I absolutely have to jump in the shower and go to the day job, which has nothing to do with writing whatsoever. At night, I'll write until I can't see straight. I also write to music, so I'll spend some time picking out the perfect songs for different characters or scenes and listen to nothing but that music until the story is done. My i-tunes playlist can be pretty startling to someone who doesn't know me.
2) Which author/s inspire you to write?
Oddly enough, it's been screenwriters who have been my biggest inspiration, especially in terms of how I craft characters and dialogue. Phillip and Julius Epstein come to mind immediately-- they wrote "Casablanca" and a million other films of the 1930s and 1940s.
As far as actual novelists go, Stephen King was a huge influence, as were horror writers Robert McCammon and Dean Koontz. How romantic!
3) Which is your favorite romance subgenre to read? To write?
I am a history junkie, so Historical Romance is my favorite subgenre to read and to write. Even outside the romance genre, I prefer historical fiction and speculative, "what-if" settings.
4) How do you deal with criticism/rejection?
I think they are two different animals. If the criticism is genuine and positive in nature, I try to learn from it and not make the same mistakes in subsequent work. If the criticism is unduly harsh, I will try to find out what the person didn't like-- unless it's a simple "that book sucked," which I would generally try to ignore once my Italian temper simmered down. Luckily that hasn't happened to me yet!
Rejection, on the other hand, is different, and it can happen for any number of reasons. You can have a great story on your hands, but it might not be what the publisher is looking for. Or perhaps the story needs some polishing, in which case, you'd better get back to work on it. Publishing is a tough business to break into-- you have to be flexible as a writer and develop a thick skin because rejections are a fact of life for a writer.
5) What do you expect from an editor?
At the risk of sounding like a heroine in a cheesy bodice-ripper, be gentle with me! Actually, I would hope that my editor will take the time to explain what changes, if any, are needed and why a particular scene or passage might not work. I also enjoy getting to know them on a personal level as well, although that might not happen with other publishing houses. My current editor, Nan Swanson, is so wonderful in all regards that she set the bar impossibly high for anyone else who might follow.
6) Tell me about your latest release
Passage to November is, at heart, a disaster story set on the Great Lakes in 1913. In the late autumn of that year, the worst storm to ever hit the lakes wiped out much of the shipping fleet, as well as several cities along the lakes. It's called "The Great Storm of 1913," and "The White Hurricane," and although there have been horrendous storms since then, none have equaled what happened in 1913.
Clara Grace is a down-on-her-luck violinist who has no choice but to take a job as a cook aboard a lake freighter filled with rough men... and a captain who would rather not have her there. Of course, romance ensues... until the storm tears them-- and their ship-- apart.
7) Tease us with a blurb or short excerpt
Clara Grace cannot recall the events that brought her to this desolate Canadian beach. Cold and alone, dim memories surface: a terrible storm…men swept to their deaths… a final kiss from the man who promised never to leave her.
Captain William McTavish believed life was best lived alone... until Clara Grace came to work aboard his ship. Something in her eyes... something in the music from her old violin, broke through his hardened heart... at last, he’d found his kindred spirit.
Torn from each other by a white hurricane that has devastated the Great Lakes, they must pray their hard-won love can somehow lead them home.
8) Which is your favorite character in the book? Why?
I love most of the characters in the book (except for Eli, the villain), but I would have to say Captain McTavish is my absolute favorite. He's definitely twisted steel and sex appeal-- an alpha male who prides himself on running a tight ship... but he's also plagued by insecurity, a few phobias, and a fairly bad attitude when it comes to women and the idea of relationships. He's a loner who doesn't really want to be alone, but he has to force himself past his deep-seated fears if he wants to claim the woman who is the love of his life.
9) What are you working on right now?
I just finished a short story called Bombshell, which will be part of the "Love Letters" series for The Wild Rose Press. It's the story of an up and coming starlet who finds herself pregnant out of wedlock... so she hides herself away in a small town and meets the gorgeous local sheriff. Romance ensues. I am also working on a follow-up to Passage to November, set during World War I, and I have a few other stories clanking around in my head fighting for air time. Some of them are romances, some are not-- although there will at least be romantic elements.
10) Your biggest piece of advice to aspiring novelists?
Read a lot of books, find your own voice as a writer, do your due diligence when scouting for publishers-- there are a LOT of scams out there-- and to quote Winston Churchill, "never, ever, ever, ever give up!"
11) Where can readers find you?
I can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and I have my own website www.phyllisdemarco.com. I can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to hear from my readers!
Great interview, Phyllis and I have complete cover envy with your book. What a beautiful cover, you must be thrilled! Wishing you lots of luck with success and sales. Okay, over to my wonderful visitors for questions and comments...